5 Tips When Using Adobe After Effects

By Louis Websdale

Adobe After Effects is a video editing program offered in the Adobe Creative Suite. It is used in the post production process for television, film and video game production; I use Adobe After Effects for almost all of the video editing projects that I undertake. It is a complex program which has many aspects and so I thought it would be helpful to give 5 tips which I believe will be of use when using Adobe After Effects.


Videos are sequences of single frames with keyframes representing every frame of the video footage. A user can change the properties of a single frame of a video by inserting a keyframe on a certain value. Usually, keyframes are used to create a gradual change in one of a layer’s properties; this includes scale, position, rotation, opacity as well as many other properties,

For example, on the 1st keyframe, the scale of the video could be 100% and then on the 15th keyframe, the scale could be increased to 150%, leading to a gradual increase of scale over the 15 keyframes.

A great addition to know about keyframes is that you can use the keyboard shortcut F9 to change the keyframes into easy ease keyframes which makes the gradual change in a value of a layer much smoother.


Shortcuts, of which there are many, is a brilliant way to save time when using Adobe After Effects while improving your comfortability with the program. The shortcuts for the main properties of a layer are as follows: A – Anchor Point, P – Position, S – Scale, R – Rotation and T – Opacity. As well as those more basic ones, there are other shortcuts which are equally as useful.

  • U reveals all the keyframes of the chosen layer.
  • Ctrl/cmd + Shift + D allows the user to split a layer into two
  • Ctrl/cmd + Shift + C allows the user to precompose the selected layer(s).
  • Ctrl/cmd + Opt + F allows the user to scale a layer up to the composition size

RAM Previews allow the user to quickly see a preview of their composition without having to go through the normal, time consuming rendering process. Clicking Ctrl/cmd + O will create a file on your computer of the preview. 

Transparent Background

When using Adobe After Effects, it can be hard to work out how to export a composition with a transparent background for file types such as PNG. In order to export a composition with a transparent background, you must choose choose RGB+Alpha when choosing the channels in the rendering section.

Adobe Media Encoder

Speaking of rendering, another program which is offered by Adobe is Adobe Media Encoder. This is a brilliant program to use alongside Adobe After Effects as it acts as a rendering program, offering many more format types. You are unable to render in MP4 from the standard Adobe After Effects renderer and so Adobe Media Encoder is needed for rendering in MP4. 

Hopefully, this blog was of assistance if you were looking into using Adobe After Effects and wanted a introduction into the program. Adobe After Effects is somewhat of a complex program and it can be hard to get your head around it so if you have any questions about how to use Adobe After Effects or any other video editing questions, then please contact me here or you can check out my video editing portfolio here.

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